A professional organization representing 1,410 social studies educators is irate over a state Senate bill that would eliminate the state mandate for three of four social studies assessment tests administered in grades 5, 7 and 8.
“The Oklahoma Council for the Social Studies Board feels strongly that the elimination of these assessments will have immediate negative impact on the quality of citizenship education in the state of Oklahoma,” the group said in a news release.
State Sen. John Ford, R-Bartlesville, said his Senate Bill 1654 is not intended to diminish the importance of what social studies teachers do.
“What this bill does is take away the state mandate of a test,” Ford said. “But every district has the ability to continue having tests in whatever subject they want. We’re just listening to a lot of parents and a lot of teachers that say the state mandates too many tests.”
The Oklahoma Council for the Social Studies contends Oklahoma has been a national leader for three decades in setting out state standards and assessments in all areas of social studies, including U.S. history, geography, world history, U.S. government, Oklahoma history and economics.
“When applied in grades prekindergarten-12, this comprehensive curriculum and battery of assessments empower teachers to deliver to Oklahoma’s students the necessary knowledge and decision-making skills to become productive citizens upon high school graduation,” the group said. “The elimination of the state’s social studies assessments sends a clear message that the Oklahoma Senate does not value the preparation of Oklahoma public school students for the ‘office of citizen.’”
Oklahoma is the only state with a stand-alone geography assessment test, and one of 21 states with assessment tests for social studies and one of 15 states with assessment tests for U.S. history, the group said.
Senate Bill 1654 passed the Senate on a vote of 44-0 and is now awaiting action in the House.
The Oklahoma Council for the Social Studies Board feels strongly that the elimination of these assessments will have immediate negative impact on the quality of citizenship education in the state of Oklahoma.”
Oklahoma Council for the Social Studies Board,